1920s

1928

  • Andy Warhol is born in Pittsburgh, the youngest of three brothers. His parents Julia and Andrej Warhola emigrated from the Ruthenian village of Mikova, now in the Slovak Republic. The Ruthenians were Catholics who had absorbed many of the rituals and liturgy of Russian orthodoxy, and the Warholas regularly attended a Byzantine Catholic church in Pittsburgh. For many years, Julia Warhola refused to learn English, so the Ruthenian dialect was spoken at home.

1929

  • Stock market crash heralds Great Depression

1930s

1936

  • Andy suffers involuntary spasms (‘St Vitus Dance’). For eight weeks, his mother nurses him at home.

1937

  • Andy joins a free art course for talented children.

1940s

  • He begins to collect photographs of movie stars. A signed publicity still of Shirley Temple becomes his prize possession.

1941

  • USA enters Second World War.

1942

  • Andrej Warhola dies.

1945

  • Harry S. Truman becomes President of USA.
  • Second World War ends.

1945–9

  • Andy attends the Carnegie Institute of Technology, majoring in pictorial design.

1949

  • He moves to New York and becomes known as ‘Andy Warhol’. He works as a window dresser, book illustrator and as a commercial artist for magazines, including Glamour, Vogue and Seventeen. Infatuated with the writer Truman Capote, Andy inundates him with fan letters and telephone calls until Capote’s mother asks him to stop.
  • Life magazine presents Jackson Pollock as the greatest living painter in America.

1950s

1952

  • Warhol’s first exhibition presents drawings based on the writings of Truman Capote.
  • Julia Warhola arrives in New York and, decides to move in with Andy. Over the next few years, Warhol publishes promotional books as gifts for potential clients including Love is a Pink Cake and A la Recherche du Shoe Perdu. Warhol makes paintings using photographic images as source material, and employing techniques derived from the commercial art industry such as photo-static machines. 
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower elected President.

1953

  • Elvis Presley makes first record.

1954

  • Racial segregation in American schools declared unconstitutional.

1955

  • Warhol’s advertisements for the shoe company I. Miller begin to appear each week in the New York Times.

1956

  • Warhol’s homoerotic drawings and gold shoe drawings are exhibited in New York.
  • Warhol and his friend Charles Lisanby undertake a two-month world tour.
  • Jackson Pollock killed in car crash.

1957

  • As a leading commercial illustrator, Warhol establishes ‘Andy Warhol Enterprises, Inc.’
  • Unhappy with his appearance, Warhol has corrective surgery on his nose.

1958

1960s

1960

  • Dissatisfied with being a commercial artist, Warhol starts making hand-painted pictures based on comic-strips and advertisements.
  • John F. Kennedy becomes President.

1961

  • Warhol stops making paintings based on comic-strips after seeing similar works by Roy Lichtenstein. Instead, he paints thirty-two Campbell’s soup cans.

1962

  • Warhol makes his first photo-silkscreen pictures, and experiments with stamps and stencils. Advised by curator Henry Geldzahler to address darker subjects, he begins the Disasters series. Campbell’s Soup Cans are shown at the Ferus Gallery, Los Angeles.
  • Warhol produces his first portraits of Marilyn Monroe after her death in August.
  • Warhol participates in The New Realists exhibition in New York, the first important survey of Pop art; and has a solo exhibition at The Stable Gallery. Warhol finally abandons commercial art, which had financed his career to date. 
  • Cuban missile crisis.

1963

  • Warhol works on his Electric Chairs, Race Riot and Tunafish Disaster pictures.
  • He buys a 16 mm camera and makes his first films, including Sleep, Eat and Blow Job. Warhol hires Gerard Malanga as an assistant. Several months later his studio moves to a loft on East 47th Street, which becomes known as The Factory. Billy Name covers the walls in aluminium foil and silver paint. 
  • President Kennedy assassinated.

1964

  • The Thirteen Most Wanted Men portraits at the New York World’s Fair are considered inappropriate by the Fair’s organisers and are painted over. Warhol continues to make films, including Empire, shot from an office facing the Empire State Building. Exhibitions of Boxes in New York, and Disaster paintings in Paris.Warhol transfers to the Leo Castelli Gallery. Advised to put more positive life into his pictures, he creates the first Flowers silkscreens. He acquires a tape recorder that he carries around with him, recording innumerable interviews and conversations. Increasingly, the Factory becomes a rendezvous for young artists, dancers, drop-outs and admirers of Warhol. Dorothy Podber, a regular visitor, brings a gun to the Factory and fires a shot through a stack of four Marilyn portraits.
  • First American combat troops in Vietnam.

1965

  • Warhol’s films include Kitchen, My Hustler, and Poor Little Rich Girl. He now attracts a glamorous entourage that includes Ingrid Superstar, Ultra Violet and Edie Sedgwick.
  • Paul Morrissey becomes an important collaborator on his films, and helps to manage the Factory. In Paris, Warhol announces his retirement from painting to concentrate on filmmaking.Thousands of fans mob Warhol and Edie Sedgwick at an opening at the University of Pennsylvania.

1966

  • Warhol orchestrates nightclub events featuring rock band The Velvet Underground with the singer Nico. At the Leo Castelli Gallery, he exhibits his Silver Clouds while decorating another room with Cow Wallpaper.The film Chelsea Girls gains widespread recognition. Morrissey increasingly directs the films, with Warhol as producer. Warhol meets Fred Hughes, who becomes a close friend and business adviser.

1967

  • Warhol produces the Velvet Underground’s first album, and films Lonesome Cowboys on location in Arizona. He hires the actor Allen Midgette to impersonate him on a college lecture tour.
  • Race riots in Newark, New Jersey and Detroit.
  • Peace protestors storm the Pentagon.

1968

  • The Factory moves to 33 Union Square West. The new premises are designed as a place of business, rather than a meeting-place for hangers-on. On 3 June Valerie Solanas shoots Warhol and art critic Mario Amaya. Critically wounded, Warhol is saved by surgery lasting several hours. He remains hospitalised for eight weeks and never fully recovers from his injuries.
  • Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy assassinated.
  • Richard Nixon elected President.

1969

  • The first issue of Interview magazine, published by Warhol. Warhol makes the film Trash.
  • His income as an artist now exceeds his previous earnings from commercial work.
  • Neil Armstrong becomes first man on the Moon.
  • Midnight Cowboy and Easy Rider released.
  • 400,000 attend Woodstock Festival.

1970s

1970

  • An extensive Warhol retrospective tours the USA and Europe, and is shown at the Tate Gallery, London. A hand-painted Campbell’s Soup is auctioned for $60,000, setting a record for a living American artist. Gerard Malanga and Billy Name, both important Warhol associates, leave the Factory.
  • National Guard shoot student protestors at Kent State University.

1971

  • Warhol designs the cover for the Rolling Stones album Sticky Fingers. His play Pork is performed in New York and London. Increasingly weak and erratic, Warhol’s mother Julia returns to Pittsburgh. Warhol undertakes an increasing number of society portraits.

1972

  • Coinciding with Nixon’s visit to China, Warhol returns to painting with the Mao portraits.
  • Warhol supports the Democrat candidate Senator McGovern by creating a lurid silkscreen of his opponent, Richard Nixon. Warhol makes the films Heat and Women in Revolt
  • Julia Warhola dies in Pittsburgh at the age of 80. Andy does not attend the funeral.
  • President Nixon re-elected.

1973

  • Warhol produces films Flesh for Frankenstein and Blood for Dracula.
  • USA agrees to withdraw from Vietnam.
  • Arab oil embargo leads to fuel shortages in USA.

1974

  • Warhol makes portraits of his mother, and works on portraits of art dealers.
  • He begins to assemble his Time Capsules, labelling and storing away boxes of everyday objects, documents, notes, and letters. By the end of his life, he has 610 of them.
  • Watergate affair forces Nixon’s resignation.
  • Gerald Ford becomes President.

1975

  • The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B and Back Again), written with Pat Hackett.
  • Warhol’s links with the Iranian royal family lead to his invitation to a White House banquet in honour of the Shah.

1976

  • Warhol makes the Skulls series and Bad, his last film.
  • Jimmy Carter elected President.
  • Film Taxi Driver is released.

1977

  • Studio 54 night club opens in New York. Warhol becomes a regular. Warhol’s folk-art collection is exhibited at the Museum of American Folk Art.
  • Punk rock is at its peak.
  • Elvis Presley dies.

1978

  • Warhol produces Oxidation and Shadows pictures, as well as portraits of Liza Minnelli, Muhammad Ali and Man Ray.

1979

  • Warhol creates the Retrospectives and Reversal series. A book of photographs, Andy Warhol’s Exposures, is published.
  • The Shah of Iran is overthrown. 
  • The US embassy in Tehran is seized and occupied.

1980s

1980

  • POPism The Warhol ’60s, a memoir dictated by Warhol to Pat Hackett is published.
  • A talk-show Andy Warhol’s TV is shown on a cable channel and runs until 1982.
  • Warhol and Fred Hughes attend an audience with the Pope. 
  • Ronald Reagan elected President.
  • John Lennon shot dead in New York.

1981

  • Warhol is engaged on several groups of works - Crosses, Dollar Signs, Guns, Knives – and a series based on American myths.

1982

  • For the Berlin Zeitgeist exhibition, Warhol creates pictures with motifs derived from Berlin. He travels to Paris, Zurich and China. He accepts more and more advertising commissions.

1984

  • Warhol creates the Rorschach paintings. He buys the Edison Building on East 33rd Street to house his studio, office and Interview magazine.
  • Ronald Reagan elected for second term.
  • AIDS virus identified.
  • Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney published.

1985

  • Warhol paints Ads, based on advertising motifs and publishes America, a book of photographs. He exhibits the Collaboration Works, produced jointly with the young artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.

1986

  • Warhol produces the Camouflage pictures and re-workings of Leonardo’s Last Supper. His television series appears on MTV as Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes.

1987

  • Warhol visits Milan for an exhibition of his Last Supper pictures. On 22 February Warhol dies unexpectedly in a New York hospital following a gall bladder operation. He is buried in Pittsburgh with only immediate family and friends present. More than 2,000 mourners attend a memorial service in St Patrick’s Cathedral, New York.